Simona Halep has made her appeal of the 4-year doping ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in a 3-day hearing last week held in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Well, it was a long hearing and what I can say is that I had the chance to show my defence. I really believe that the truth is going to come out. I can't tell you absolutely anything about what happened at the hearing, but I want to tell you that my confidence is intact regarding the truth. I'm very confident that the truth will come out and it will be proven that I never intended to dope and I never did. Simona Halep
Accompanied by her lawyers, the 32-year-old began pleading her case behind closed doors at CAS headquarters on Wednesday.
After leaving the court on Wednesday and Thursday, Halep did not speak to the media because she was not allowed to reveal any details of the hearing.
Halep, who will turn 35 before the ban being challenged expires in October 2026, left the court with her American lawyer Howard Jacobs on Friday, when the Romanian did briefly state that she was confident everything would go well for her.
“Well, it was a long hearing and what I can say is that I had the chance to show my defence,” Halep said after her hearing was concluded. “I really believe that the truth is going to come out.
“I can’t tell you absolutely anything about what happened at the hearing, but I want to tell you that my confidence is intact regarding the truth.
“I’m very confident that the truth will come out and it will be proven that I never intended to dope and I never did.”
Halep was suspended last September by the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) after two separate alleged doping infractions.
She tested positive for roxadustat after the US Open in 2022 and was charged with a second anti-doping breach last year relating to irregularities in her athlete biological passport.
Halep has protested her innocence and refused to accept the ITIA decision, which will keep her from playing professional tennis again until 6 October, 2026.
The winner of the 2018 French Open and 2019 Wimbledon singles titles has maintained throughout that she wants to clear her name, and has claimed experts found she had accidentally taken a contaminated supplement.
Roxadustat is a substance that can be used legitimately to treat anaemia, but it is also on the World Anti-Doping Agency banned list as it is considered a blood-doping agent, which increases haemoglobin and the production of red blood cells.
The biological passport system is designed for the long-term monitoring of an athlete’s blood indicators with the aim of identifying irregularities that could indicate doping.
Following the conclusion of the hearing in Simona Halep doping ban appeal, CAS issued a statement, saying: “The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) hearing in the arbitration procedures CAS 2023/A/10025 Simona Halep v. International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) and CAS 2023/A/10227 International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) v. Simona Halep concluded at 3:30pm today with the final pleadings of the parties, as scheduled.
“The parties have been informed that the CAS Panel in charge of the matter will now deliberate and prepare the Arbitral Award containing its decision and grounds. No particular date was announced with respect to the notification of the final decision.”
Halep, the first leading women’s tennis player to be caught in the anti-doping net since the suspension of Russian Maria Sharapova in 2016, must now await the decision in her appeal case to see if she will be allowed to return to pro tennis before 2026 October.
Halep engaged an American lawyer, Howard Jacobs, who has represented top athletes implicated in doping, while the 3 CAS judges are some of its most in-demand.
The court-appointed chair, Annabelle Bennett of Australia, also led the judging panel in the case brought by two-time Olympic champion runner Caster Semenya that later went to the European Court of Human Rights.
American judge Jeffrey Benz was in the CAS panel at the 2022 Beijing Olympics that let 15-year-old Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva continue to compete despite a pre-games positive test.
German law professor Ulrich Haas has advised the World Anti-Doping Agency and is one of the most nominated judges by parties coming to the CAS.
Halep became the World No 1 in the WTA rankings in 2017, and won Wimbledon in 2019, beating 23-time major champion Serena Williams in the final, a year after winning the French Open.
“At the parties’ request, no further information will be given with respect to the identity of the participants,” the court said, referring to expert witnesses who gave evidence over the 3-day hearing.